Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing with Mexican Salad

Jan 11, 2020

I remember when I first started blogging, I was so excited to share all my recipes with the world.

But truth is there are actually a lot of recipes out there. Almost too many these days. Haha! It truly makes me laugh to see how much information there is on the internet. It’s kind of overwhelming.

To keep up with it all is almost impossible.

But when I started thinking of the true reason why I wanted to keep writing recipes, over time I started to realize that even though the whole world may never find out about them, I wanted these recipes to stick for my children and my future generations.

I know my son often talks about going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My heart often thinks about how I can prepare my children to be full grown adults, and also to remember and have access to what we did at home.

And just like that, Tah Dah! It hit me one day that my blog could be one those ways.

When my mom past away when she was young we relied on journals, recipe books, and plain memory to remember how she did things and what her parenting strategies and views on things were. We often as kids would call each other to ask who had such and such recipe. I tried really hard to be organized and compile it all at home, but I also realized that my papers aren’t fire proof or flood proofed. I have often found myself going through homes where papers that are just 30 years old are shredding to pieces and have turned completely yellow and are ready to crumble at any second.

That is where the internet can truly become our friend. I am hoping some day the kids and my friends, and perhaps some of you that don’t know me, can find my favorite recipes and be able to enjoy them freely.

Making the dressing. I used frozen buttermilk and frozen pre-chopped onions. I do that to save time. And sorry, I cheated and I used store bought lime instead of the fresh kind. I gradually added more mayo as needed. And what I do to freeze some of the dressing.

I adore this salad. It’s super simple, plus it’s such a feast to look at with so many varieties of colors. Every time I eat it I feel my vitamin count being replenished from the inside.

I love to make it the day after we make tri tip or even with some shredded beef or chicken that has previously cooked. Aka leftovers.

To make the salad all we do is combine the following ingredients:

  1. Small head of romaine lettuce
  2. A handful of small carrots chopped
  3. 1 Tomato chopped
  4. 1 Tbsp of Greek yogurt
  5. Salsa
  6. Sliced left over tritip. I buy the pre-seasoned meat from Costco. We cook it first, but always reheat it the next day and make this salad with it.
  7. Tortilla chips on the side
  8. Season with the creamy tomatillo dressing


I like to freeze this dressing into ice tray cubes. I then remove them once frozen and place them in freezer ziploc bags.

I love to use it as a topping on my corn. I warm them together in the microwave for a few minutes. Or sauté them in a pan. Mix and ready to serve. It’s delish

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Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing

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Course Salad
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword caferio, Cilantro, dressing, lime


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute

I have created a skinnier version of this recipe that is less fatty and low on dairy.


  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • 1/8 cup rice or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 juice from a lLime and the zest
  • 2 clove garlic or 1/4 cup of onion for an easy substitute
  • 1 large tomatillo green tomatoes at the store
  • 1 small jalapeño We are whimps so we omit this step


  1. In a blender or food processor add all ingredients and half of the rice or coconut milk. You’ll want to add it gradually and until you obtain your desired consistency. You may add up to 1/4 of a cup if preferred. Blend ingredients starting from low to medium speed until dressing has become smooth and well incorporated. You will still see some small pieces of cilanto, but consistency should be creamy and smooth.
  2. Chill at least one hour before use and store in fridge in airtight container. Makes a little bit over 2 cups.
  3. To avoid food from spoiling, pour the dressing into an ice cube tray, freeze, than remove the cubes and store them in a freezer safe bag. Whenever you need one or two cubes, defrost them in the microwave for a few seconds and enjoy with your favorite salad.


This recipe makes a lot of dressing. I like to pour at least half of it once done in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Whenever I need some of this delicious dressing I defrost 1 to 3 cubes for a few seconds in the microwave, and voila! Instant homemade dressing ready. You can see how I do it in my video above. 

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Serena Essuman


Serena Essuman

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